Celtic defender O'Connell set for Walsall loan

Dundee United's Ryan McGowan in action with Celtic's Eoghan O'Connell

HITC Sport understands Celtic defender set for loan move to England.

Eoghan O'Connell celebrates with team mates after scoring the first goal for Celtic

Celtic defender Eoghan O'Connell is poised to join League One Walsall on loan, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.

O'Connell is highly-regarded within the corridors of power at Celtic Park, but he has slipped down the pecking order in Brendan Rodgers' plans in the last few months

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The Republic of Ireland under-21 international made seven appearances for Celtic earlier in the season but has not played for two months following the return from injury of Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko.

Celtic are keen to let O'Connell go out on loan to continue his development feeling he would benefit from a spell playing regular first-team football.

Rangers' Ryan Hardie in action with Celtic's Eoghan O'Connell

A number of clubs in Scotland and England have expressed an interest in taking O'Connell on loan, but Walsall are in pole position to land the central defender.

O'Connell has not travelled with the rest of the Celtic squad for their warm weather training stint in Dubai during the break in the Scottish Premiership so that he can resolve his future.

Walsall boss Jon Whitney is keen to bolster his side's defensive options for the second half of the season and he sees O'Connell as playing a key role in his plans.

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